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J Wallace James Elementary

Dear J. Wallace James students, families, and community members,

My name is Jon Downs, your principal at J. Wallace James Elementary School. I am grateful for the opportunity to work at J. Wallace James and to lead our fantastic students and staff. I look forward to continuing our mission of putting our students first through, with, and in the Arts and Technology.  

A little bit about me:

I am married to Sarah Downs who is an incredible partner and mother, and I would not be where I am at today without her unconditional love and support. We have two fun and energetic daughters, Harper, a 10-year-old entering the 5th grade in 2023-2024 and Iris, a 7-year-old entering the 2nd grade in 2023-24; both attend J. Wallace James!  I'm so happy they get to be Starblazers and they are too!

I am truly excited for what our future holds here at J. Wallace James and I plan to continue embracing and promoting our robust Arts program and look to further integrate and grow our Technology program. My number one goal in this position is to support our students, our staff, and our school community to make us as successful as possible. Our singular goal is student growth and we will achieve this in our pursuit of academic excellence through, with, and in the arts and technology. If you ever need to reach out to me please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached by email at or by phone at 337-521-7700. I look forward to my 5th year leading J. Wallace James!  I consider myself the luckiest principal in Lafayette Parish and that is because of our students, staff, and families!!

Jon Downs, Ph.D.

Principal, J. Wallace James



Brooke Fontenot

Assistant Principal

Mrs. Brooke Fontenot is a gem at J. Wallace James and makes our clock tick!!! She is 100% Starblazer through and through and absolutely LOVES everything about our school.  Mrs. Fontenot brings many skill sets to our team and our school that we need each day!  As our Assistant Principal, she strives to build positive relationships with the students while building their leadership skills. Mrs. Fontenot has two boys, William and Henry, that both attend J. Wallace James.  We are excited to have Mrs. Fontenot as a part of our Instructional Leadership Team!!!

Doni Kovatch

Instructional Leader

Mrs. Doni Kovatch is OUR ROCK!!  Mrs. Kovatch keeps us in line, helps EVERYONE with EVERYTHING and is the heart of J. Wallace James.  Both Ethan and Ava attended J. Wallace James and have carried on their success from J. Wallace James to high school and college.  Ethan is a collegiate soccer player and Ava is a high school chearleader.  Mrs. Kovatch has been at J. Wallace James since we opened, 23 years ago!  We love Mrs. Kovatch and she loves J. Wallace James!

Ashley Cagle

Instructional Leader

Mrs. Ashley Cagle is an asset to our administration! She brings a wealth of knowledge to the team, especially in the area of early childhood learning. She has teaching experience in Kindergarten all the way through 3rd grade and has taught in both Louisiana and Texas. Her positive attitude is second to none, and she guides our teachers in supporting the students at J. Wallace James fulfill their potential!

Upcoming Events


Dr. Seus Read across America Week

Start: Feb 26, 2024 End: Mar 1, 2024

Multi-Day Event


Raisin Canes Spirit Night

4:00 PM - 10:00 PM


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